Eating to Reduce Post-Workout Soreness | STACK

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for Our FREE Newsletter.

Eating to Reduce Post-Workout Soreness

May 13, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

During your peak preseason training, you might be performing high-impact exercises and workouts twice a day, leaving your body feeling fatigued and sore. During these weeks, your body will suffer from the wear and tear of intense, everyday workouts, thwarting your best performance.

What you eat before during and after workouts can greatly reduce post-workout soreness. By eating correctly, you'll decrease the muscle degradation caused by intense exercise and maximize post-workout muscle repair and rebuilding. Eating the right foods can also decrease inflammation, another source of muscle soreness.

Before Your Workout

Make sure to have adequate carbohydrates and protein to top off your energy stores. The best pre-workout meals have carbohydrates and some protein to promote greater muscular endurance, provide energy and help speed recovery. Post-workout soreness can also be caused by dehydration and lack of electrolytes, so start your workout hydrated by drinking at least 20 ounces of water in the hour before you train.

During Your Workout

If you are working out for an hour or more, consume a high-glycemic carbohydrate source, such as a sports drink or gel, to provide electrolytes and glucose. Adding protein can further minimize muscle tissue damage. Again, stay properly hydrated, drinking at least 14 to 16 ounces of water for each active hour.

Following a Workout

The 45-minute window following an intense workout is when your body is most sensitive to insulin, which helps build muscle. A common myth says that protein is most important post-workout, but you also need carbohydrates to help produce insulin, drive muscle building and reduce post-workout soreness. The current recommendation is a ratio of 2:1 carbohydrate to protein following strength workouts and 4:1 after endurance workouts. Aim for higher-glycemic carbs, like sports drinks, granola bars, cereal or crackers. They are digested faster and are replete with muscle and liver glycogen.

The Power of Antioxidants

Foods rich in antioxidants also help reduce inflammation and decrease muscle soreness. Various studies have shown the positive effects on exercice recovery of tart cherries due to their high antioxidant properties. Ginger and turmeric are other foods high in antioxidants.

Practice your pre/post-workout fueling routines and tweak them as necessary. Be comfortable with your fueling choices. Also, remember to consult with a health professional if you feel your soreness might be signaling an injury.

Make sure to check out the STACK Post-Workout Nutrition Guide for further information.


Source: "Train to Manage Pain: How the Foods We Eat Can Optimize
 Exercise Recovery." Leslie Bonci, Kerry Kuehl, Leanna Shear.

Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
Kait Fortunato
- Kait Fortunato is a registered dietitian at Rebecca Bitzer & Associates, a large and experienced nutrition practice in Maryland. She focuses on individualized nutritional recommendations...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Tips to Increase Lean Body Mass

As the weather turns warmer, there is an increased focus on getting back in shape. A key component of this and of fitness in general is increasing lean...

KISS Your Way to a Perfect Post-Workout Meal

The Prime Time to Build Muscle

How to Build a Performance-Fueling Smoothie

4 Post-Workout Shakes for Recovery and Building Muscle

Top 3 Reasons to Take Dextrose Post-Workout

A Guide to Muscle-Building Supplements

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

How to Plan Your Post-Workout Nutrition

Simple Post-Workout Shake Recipe

What to Eat to Get Bigger, Faster and Stronger

The DIY Athlete: Homemade Fruit Smoothies

Design the Perfect Muscle-Building Post-Workout Meal

Fuel Your Performance With Salad: Here's How

Hungry? Try the DIY Protein Bar

Post-Workout Breakfast Muscle-Building Shakes

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Benefits of Oatmeal, Pre- or Post-Workout

A Customized Approach to Post-Workout Nutrition

The DIY Athlete: Homemade Fruit Strips

The Best Post-Workout Carbs

Eating to Reduce Post-Workout Soreness

Chocolate Milk after Workouts

The Perfect Post-Workout Pasta Recipe

Do You Need Protein Immediately After Your Workout?

3 Smoothie Recipes to Meet Your Nutrition Needs

The Truth About Post-Workout Carbs

Make Gains With This Post-Workout Shake Recipe

Post-Workout Chocolate Peanut Butter Shake Recipe

Cool Foods and Beverages for the Summer Athlete

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Post-Workout Foods for Any Occasion

The Power of Green Smoothies

Fast Food and Student-Athletes

Spice Up Your Workout With This Recovery Drink Recipe

3 Recipes to Spice Up Chocolate Milk

Time Your Fueling for Peak Performance

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

Elevate Your Game With Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition